Turning trash into treasure, one piece at a time

Antique Table & Chairs Redo

Are you ready for another makeover project? Today’s completed project is an antique table and chairs. This set was beat up and practically left for dead. It’s certainly seen better days. I guess that’s to be expected though since it was made in the early 1900’s (somewhere around 1920 – 1930).

I don’t know if I’m the only one who does this or not, but I find myself envisioning where these antiques have been. I wish I knew the history behind it – who owned it, what states (or countries) it’s been to. Were the previous owners happy? I wish there were an Ancestry.com for antiques!

Anywho..back to the project at hand – this awesome mahogany dining set. I picked this up a couple weeks ago after falling in love with it at a fundraising event. A local community was selling items to raise funds for a preschool. It’s a win/win really. I was able to help with their cause while also scoring a fabulous (albeit beat up) dining set.

As you can see in the photos above, this set was begging to be redone. The table had gouges taken out of the top (hard to see all of them in the photo). The chairs weren’t much better off – and the cushions were straight up nasty and stained (not to mention ugly). But..not to worry. The Trashy Lady is on the case!

This completed set is currently for sale in the Trashy Shop (local pickup only).

Here’s how I did it:

1. I first started by sanding down the table table (not the legs) and all 4 chairs. I learned something in the process. Mahogany, while gorgeous, makes a HUGE mess. My entire garage (including the outside door) turned orange/brown. So gross. There’s not much you can do about that though. Just keep on truckin’.


2. After sanding everything, I applied wood conditioner and let it soak in for 15 minutes. This is very important. The wood is porous. If you don’t condition the wood, it will absorb anything you put on it (stain, paint, etc). You’ll spend a fortune “feeding” the wood so don’t skip this step! After 15 minutes, wipe off the excess.



3. After conditioning the table, I adored the natural color of the wood. So I left it unstained. The richness of the table top was TDF (to die for). It also created a lovely contrast with the dark legs. Love it!



4. Next, I applied polyurethane to the table top. I did 3 coats of polyurethane – allowing time to dry between each coat. Normally, polyurethane would be reapplied after 7 hours but the weather was nice and I had a large fan going in my garage. So, it only took an hour! This blew my mind!


5. In between coats on the table, I painted the chairs with an antique white paint and allowed them time to dry. I did 3 coats on each chair.


6. After the chairs were dry, I took sand paper (80 grit) and roughed them up. I wanted to give them an aged/distressed look. This was the step that I hated the most. It took several days, and lots of sweat. Worst of all, the sand paper was sanding the skin on my fingers. I’m 90% sure that I could get away with murder at this point as it sanded my fingerprints! EEK!


7. The final step was to recover those hideous cushions. I picked up some amazing upholstery fabric from Hobby Lobby. It’s a burlap & subway art combo. Stunning! This is by far the easiest step. You just wrap the cushions with the new fabric and staple gun it on.


This project took me about 2 weeks to complete. The hand distressing of the chairs took a lot out of me (and a lot from me – ahem..skin). In the end though, I am very pleased with the results. I would certainly do it again.

Here’s the finished product in all it’s glory!

If you’d like to purchase this set or any other items I have for sale, head on over to the Trashy Shop.